Salafism is a collective term for a spectrum of fundamentalist currents within Sunni Islam. These movements focus on moral 're-education' and 'purification' of the religious community and society.

Within the Salafist spectrum, we can discern three movements. Through preaching, the apolitical Salafism emphasises personal religious life and the dissociation of the non-Islamic society. Political Salafism advocates greater involvement in society and so is more politically engaged. This sub movement actively pursues religiously inspired political -social objectives, through preaching. The most extreme direction is Salafi Jihadism. A characteristic feature of this sub movement, which is one of the main components of the present-day violent jihadism, are the denunciation of dissidents and the endorsement of violence. Preaching is also used within Salafi Jihadism.


The Salafistic spectre in the Netherlands is dynamic. This is, amongst others, determined by external factors, such as the war in Syria and the increased political instability in the Middle East. The proclamation of the so-called “Caliphate” by ISIS in 2014 may well have catalysed greater receptiveness to Salafist ideology among some young Muslims. By addressing current political issues, and placing them in a religious framework, some Salafist preachers are encouraging young Dutch Muslims to engage more strongly – socially, politically and religiously – with the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. When such efforts are coupled with vilification and excommunication of those holding different beliefs, such as Shi’ites and Jews, they can foster intolerance and undermine the democratic legal order, and even constitute criminal acts if they incite hatred or violence.

More information

The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) collaborates with the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Unemployment (SZW) amongst others, in the field of the theme Salafism; The Ministry of SZW coordinates. Listed in the right column are several documents that provide more insight into Salafism and the government policy of this subject, and in the left column more information is found.